In English as a Second Language, Learning English Challenges, Mispronounced English Words

Are you Spelling These Ten English Words Wrong?

We get it. Spelling in English is no easy task. Have you ever heard the spelling rule, “i before e except after c?” This is a widely used expression to help people remember simple spelling rules (except, the rules don’t always apply – in words like foreign, reign, and weight.) We need little sayings like this because English is full of rules for spelling that confuse people when they are writing. Of course, now with spell check on computers and other devices, many people don’t even need to know the intricacies of spelling anymore as everything seems to auto-correct.

Just wait a minute. We don’t always have access to a spell check function! Wouldn’t it be great to just intuitively know if the word you’re spelling in English is correct? Bad spelling might have an impact on your reputation at the office someday; start adding to your spelling repertoire today!

You can rely on your own knowledge, not spell check. Today we’re going to check out ten English words people often spell incorrectly.

1. Separate

This is one word that just LOOKS like it’s wrong. “Separate” and “separately” just beg to be spelled seperately. Similarly, many people also incorrectly spell the word desperate, which, while sounding very similar to separate, actually flips the script on separate’s “e-a-a-e” vowel pattern to “e-e-a-e.”

2. Embarrass

Funnily enough, “embarrass” is one word that is frequently incorrectly spelled! Are you “embarrassed” by your spelling mistakes? When in doubt, double it up. There are two “r’s” and two “s’s” in embarrass. Remember that and you’ll never have to feel the pain of incorrect spelling!

3. Liason

Oh, the silent letter is a tricky one. That extra “i” is just waiting to be forgotten, or if you do happen to remember it, chances are you try to insert it after the “s” and not before it. This might be one of those you whisper to yourself a few times to remember that second “i” …lee-a-i-son.

4. Until / Fulfill

These two are frequently misspelled with the wrong number of “l’s.” Remember that “until” just has one and “fulfill” is the entire word fill. Makes perfect sense, right?

5. Definitely

We bet this is the number one misspelled word. Everyone wants to drop an “a” somewhere in this common word – like “definately.” That is definitely wrong. Be careful of this one as it’s sneaky! It comes up frequently, so this is a good one to memorize.

Are You Spelling These Ten English Words Wrong?

6. Vacuum

Two vowels next to each other? ARE WE SURE? There aren’t many words like “vacuum,” but they sure aren’t as common as this household item. If you’ve ever been stumped by which letter repeats – the “c”? the “u”? the “m”? – you aren’t the only one.

7. Accommodate

For this word, remember it’s TWO sets of doubles! Don’t leave out a “c” or an “m” for the correct spelling of this word. That’s not the only mistake we see – many times that second “o” turns into an “a.”

8. Occasion

If you’re new to writing in English, you’ll forever (yes, forever) be memorizing double consonant spellings. “Occasion” is no stranger to the issue, with incorrect spellings adding an extra “s.” Just one, as the ending -sion functions just like -tion. One “t”, one “s.”

9. Acknowledgment

Many a new writer wants to add an “e” to make this word acknowledgement. You aren’t the only one who trips up here! To be fair, the adding of the “e” isn’t entirely incorrect…in Britain, you’d be just fine! However, the correct American spelling of this word leaves out the extra letter.

Are You Spelling These Ten English Words Wrong?

10. Receive

We couldn’t leave out one of the famous “i before e except after c” words in our list, could we? “Receive” is one that is commonly misspelled (just like the word “receipt,” but that has a whole host of other issues, too!) For some reason, our brains want desperately to put that “i” before the “e.” Don’t do it, just follow the rule here!

What other words do you have trouble spelling? Let us know and we’ll be sure to add them to our list. Remember, incorrectly spelling a word isn’t the end for your language learning journey. Mistakes help us to learn and remember for the next time. Language is a lifelong process where we continually learn new things! Don’t let these tough ones get you down; add them to your bank of knowledge and keep moving forward.

If you are looking for help mastering the English language, give us a call!

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